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The Truth about Liens and Your Personal Injury Case
You may have heard the term lien and wondered how it applies to your personal injury case. Many understand that someone can assert a lien against real property for some types of legal matters. But, what does all this mean if you’re making a claim for personal injury?
What’s a lien, you say? Think of it as a marker. It’s a means of showing that a party is entitled to money once the outcome of a case has been decided. Liens are placed on personal injury lawsuits for a variety of reasons. We’ll explain the most common ones.
Reasons Liens are placed on Personal Injury Cases
- Medical Bills: Let’s start with the most obvious one. Medical treatment. Obviously, if you’ve been injured, you need help from medical providers. But, what if you have no insurance? Or, if the insurance company denies your claim? Do you just forego treatment?
An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you with this dilemma. The medical provider may request a Letter of Protection. If your attorney feels this appropriate, a letter will be sent to the hospital or medical facility that has treated you without payment. The providers will receive payment at the conclusion of your case. The money comes from the proceeds of the legal action.
- Medicare: Did you receive medical benefits from Medicare either because you are totally disabled or of the age to receive benefits? If Medicare paid out benefits on your behalf related to your accident, they are entitled to reimbursement.
- Child Support: If your injuries created a hardship for making your child support payments, a lien will be placed on your personal injury lawsuit. Before funds can be disbursed in your case, your lawyer is required to determine whether you are up to date on child support. If not, payments must be made to the appropriate probation department in accordance with the law.
- Workers’ Compensation Liens: We’ve discussed this before. If you are injured at work, the worker’s compensation insurance company holds primary responsibility for your medical bills and lost wages. However, if someone else caused your accident, a certain amount of money will need to be reimbursed to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
- Medicaid: If Medicaid afforded you benefits for injuries related to your accident claim, they are entitled to repayment. This doesn’t mean that you have to reimburse money used for unrelated expenses. Medicaid will provide a printout of all expenses for evaluation.
- State Disability: If your work related case is initially denied, you may receive state disability benefits. If the court finds in your favor and the workers’ compensation carrier pays you for lost wages, you must reimburse the state.
This list is not necessarily inclusive of all liens that may be asserted against personal injury claims. The important thing is that you are honest with your attorney. If you receive public assistance or receive other insurance payments, be sure to share this information. The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo has a number of years of experience handling personal injury cases. There is no charge to meet with us and all matters are handled on a contingency basis. Contact us to set up a meeting to discuss your case.